Zanotelli: le Chiese diano asilo politico ai migranti

Nel maggio del 2017 ho lanciato un appello alle Chiese, “Sanctuary Movement”, che rimetto di nuovo in circolazione visto l’aggravarsi della situazione dei migranti nel nostro paese. L’appello è un invito alle Chiese (cattolica, valdese, luterana, anglicana, evangelica) di iniziare, come avviene negli Usa, ad offrire le nostre chiese come “santuario” per asilo politico per coloro che sono destinati alla deportazione nei loro paesi, non perché criminali, ma perché privi di documenti.

Quell’appello non ha avuto alcun riscontro positivo da parte delle Chiese in Italia.

Negli Usa al contrario lo scorso anno il Sanctuary Movement ha visto raddoppiare il numero di chiese che offrono rifugio e asilo politico per i migranti minacciati di deportazione. Non tutte le chiese offrono ospitalità a tali persone, ma tutte si impegnano a sostenere i minacciati di deportazione sia offrendo assistenza legale, ma soprattutto con l’impegno da parte di pastori o preti, di accompagnare queste persone in tribunale o dalla polizia. Ma anche, quando necessario, con sit-in o pray-in davanti ai tribunali. Ci auguriamo che questo Movimento possa presto sbocciare anche nelle Chiese in Italia.

Infatti Bruxelles intende deportare un milione di migranti irregolari. Un’operazione quasi impossibile, oltre che costosa, ma che rivela quale politica la Ue stia perseguendo. «È vero che siamo una civiltà che non fa figli – ha commentato qualche tempo fa papa Francesco – ma anche chiudiamo la porta ai migranti. Questo si chiama suicidio». E Bruxelles chiede ai 27 stati membri di mettere mano alla propria legislazione per una politica più restrittiva nei confronti dei migranti. L’Italia ha prontamente risposto con il decreto Orlando-Minniti, il cosiddetto Pacchetto Sicurezza. Il decreto, approvato dal parlamento il 12 aprile 2017 con il ricatto della fiducia, stabilisce che il rifiuto di riconoscimento dello status di rifugiato da parte della Commissione territoriale non è reclamabile se non in Cassazione. Non c’è quindi per il rifugiato la possibilità di un appello in tribunale. Respinta la domanda, al rifugiato non resta che andare in un Centro permanente per il rifugiato, per poi essere espulso nell’inferno da cui è fuggito.

Atto di coraggio

E questo sta avvenendo non solo in Europa, ma anche negli Usa con Trump, che minaccia di espellere undici milioni di clandestini, in buona parte latinos. Infatti Trump, oltre al muro tra gli Usa e il Messico, che gli costerà un miliardo di dollari, ha iniziato ad espellere ogni settimana settecento clandestini. Per rispondere a questa tragedia, alcune Chiese hanno rilanciato il Sanctuary Movement (il movimento che offre asilo, rifugio, “santuario” a chi è ricercato dalla polizia per essere espulso, perché considerato “clandestino”).

È un movimento che si rifà alla tradizione biblica (Num. 35,9-34), ripresa poi nel Medioevo, per cui chi riesce a trovare rifugio in un luogo sacro o in una città asilo aveva il diritto di essere protetto. Questo movimento ha avuto inizio negli Usa negli anni Ottanta, quando Reagan deportava i rifugiati ai loro paesi come il Salvador o il Nicaragua dove li aspettava la morte. Più di 500 chiese si erano costituite “santuari” di asilo politico. Molti si sono salvati così. Ora, con Trump, oltre mille istituzioni (fra queste, anche città, università e contee) hanno iniziato a dare rifugio politico a chi rischia di essere espulso. I responsabili religiosi si rifiutano di aprire le chiese alla polizia, quando viene per arrestare i clandestini. «Le chiese devono aprire i loro battenti per accogliere coloro che Trump vuole deportare – afferma nella rivista ecumenica Sojourners, B. Packnett. Se Trump decidesse di deportare undici milioni di clandestini, dobbiamo chiedere una massiccia disobbedienza civile. La resistenza è un lavoro sacro. Ecco perché è il nostro lavoro.”

Alle chiese si sono aggiunte anche alcune università, città e contee. Alle “città santuario” il 25 gennaio Trump ha deciso di tagliare i fondi federali. Ma ora è lo stesso stato della California a dichiararsi “stato-santuario”, attirandosi i fulmini di Trump. Questo movimento è uno straordinario stimolo per le sonnolente Chiese d’Europa. Data la gravità della situazione dei migranti in Europa, diventa pressante un appello anche alle Chiese in Italia perché lancino nel nostro paese il movimento delle ‘chiese santuario’!

È un atto di coraggio che la Chiesa cattolica in Italia deve fare: diocesi e parrocchie, comunità cristiane e conventi. È il coraggio della disobbedienza civile per la difesa della vita umana! E lo stesso coraggio lo devono avere le Chiese valdesi, luterane, battiste, metodiste, evangeliche presenti sul nostro territorio. Se le chiese dessero l’esempio, anche città, comuni, municipalità e università potrebbero seguirne l’esempio.

«Sogno un’Europa in cui essere migrante non è un delitto», ha detto papa Francesco parlando alle massime autorità della Ue. Questo è anche il nostro sogno e il nostro impegno.

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How three elections are snarling the immigration fight

DACA talks back to starting line after Trump meeting
President Donald Trump, on a perpetual victory lap over his dramatic 2016 triumph, is locked into the hard-line positions on immigration on which he built the foundations of his historic campaign.
Congressional Democrats, hoping for a vote tsunami in midterm elections this fall, are being driven on by a raging anti-Trump grassroots voting base as they seek to shield nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought illegally to the United States as children. But as they consider withholding support for government funding to leverage an immigration deal, Democratic leaders must balance pressure from progressives with the needs of vulnerable red state Democrats vital to their hopes of recapturing the Senate and who risk being branded by GOP foes as friends of “amnesty.”
Then there are Democrats who scent a chance to stand firm on immigration to woo 2020 primary voters, who will pick who will duel an apparently weakened President for the White House.
Booker slams DHS secretary's 'amnesia' on Trump's reported 'shithole' comment
One potential candidate, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, put on an impassioned show in the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, skewering Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen for saying she did not recall Trump using the word “shithole.”
“I’ve got a President of the United States whose office I respect, who talks about the countries’ origins and my fellow citizens in the most despicable of manner. You don’t remember. You can’t remember the words of your commander in chief. I find that unacceptable,” Booker said.
The multiple, complicated, electoral scenarios shaping the behavior of top players in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program debate are making compromise on an issue that is central to the DNA of both parties and repeatedly defies congressional action even more difficult.
The standoff reveals again the polarization of two parties tracking ever further from the political center. And the excruciating process of dealing with the DACA recipients is an early sign of how the looming midterm elections, and even the 2020 race, are narrowing the political running room for big lifts on any contentious issue, whether it is the reform of infrastructure or entitlements.
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While he is clearly exercised with the immigration debate, and the potential prospect of a government shutdown, the President took time out on Tuesday to savor his achievement in 2016 — a topic of which he never tires.
“How did I win Arkansas by so much when she came from Arkansas?” Trump marveled during a White House event on women, referring to his vanquished rival Hillary Clinton, before crowing about Michigan, which had been expected to go blue.
But more importantly, Trump is having a tough time watering down the purity of the positions on immigration that were instrumental in his political rise.
A week ago Tuesday, Trump told lawmakers that he would sign any bill they sent him. Then, two days later, he sunk a bipartisan deal to offer spending on his border wall in return for a reprieve for DACA recipients, apparently partly due to the prodding of his political adviser Stephen Miller, the ideological architect of the campaign’s immigration stance.
A 's-show': Relationships fray in immigration fight
Immigration tensions have also been immeasurably increased by Trump’s reported blast at “shithole” African nations last week.
The episode is a flashback to 2016, when Trump’s rhetoric won him a reputation among anti-Washington voters as a scourge of political correctness and a candidate who was quite happy to tear at racial and cultural divides for political gain. But it was also a flash forward to his 2020 re-election campaign. Since Trump made little attempt to broaden his appeal after the inauguration, he knows his best hope of winning a second term is keeping his base engaged.
CNN’s Gloria Borger and Jim Acosta reported this week that Trump is convinced that despite the furor over his attack on African nations, his language will play well with his most loyal supporters.
“He didn’t seem bothered by it at all. And he thinks it’s going to help him politically, or might,” one GOP source told Acosta.

Fretting Democrats

McConnell: Lawmakers shouldn't push for DACA deal this week
The Democratic grassroots is demanding principled, dramatic action by party lawmakers to save the Dreamers, especially after the congressional party declined to shut down the government in December over the issue.
“I think there is deep apprehension right now among the progressive base,” said Murshed Zaheed, political director of CREDO, a progressive social change network. “Democrats have an open net, they can’t chip wide right or wide left at this point. There is no room for error.”
The DACA issue is trapping the Democratic leadership between pent-up frustration in the grassroots and a Senate electoral map that is weighted towards Republicans.
They must defend 10 Senate seats in states won by Trump two years ago, in many cases by wide margins over Clinton. That means incumbent Democrats in need independent and moderate Republican voters wary of the party line on DACA.
Will 2020 contenders put Democrats in a bind on DACA?
GOP consultants are salivating over the possibility of mobilizing conservatives by accusing red-state Democrats of voting to shut down the government to grant “amnesty” to undocumented migrants.
“I can’t imagine (that) 2018 Democrats would want to shut down the government over that, especially when we are negotiating in good faith,” said Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn.
Democrats in this position include Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Claire McCaskill in Missouri and Jon Tester in Montana.
Manchin said on Tuesday he would back a “clean” continuing resolution to keep government open this week — even if it is not twinned with a reprieve for DACA recipients.
Ten is also the number of Democratic votes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may need to peel away to fund the government before a Friday midnight shutdown deadline, so red-state Democrats will come under intense pressure.
Still, progressives say the risk to Democrats in conservative states is overblown, pointing out that polls show an overwhelming majority of Americans back a right to residency for undocumented migrants brought to the US as children.
They also cite polls showing a potential blue wave in November, and argue that the victory of Doug Jones in the special election in deep-red Alabama last year shows the party can play all over the map this cycle.
“A confident opposition party fights for the heart and soul of their base,” said Zaheed.

2020 stirs the pot

Party tensions are being exacerbated by the ambitions of Democrats positioning for the primary race that will explode after November.
Booker’s theatrics gelled with his passionate approach to politics and were no doubt sincere. But it was impossible not to view them in the context of a potential presidential race since if he does run, they will quickly become part of his campaign lore. Booker has already signaled that he will not vote for a deal to fund that government that does not include a DACA fix, making it all but certain that other progressive senators that could run for President in 2020, including California’s Kamala Harris, New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts will follow suit, as they did the last time a stopgap funding bill passed in December.
Speaking before Booker’s performance, McCaskill bemoaned how the 2020 race was already complicating her life.
“We’ve got people running for president all trying to find their base, and then you’ve got people from Trump states that are trying to continue to legislate the way we always have — by negotiation,” she told The New York Times. “And never the twain shall meet.”

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Immigration deal distant as leaders try to avert shutdown

Disgruntled conservatives threatened late Tuesday to scuttle Republican leaders’ plans to prevent a weekend government shutdown, saying GOP leaders now lack the votes to push their proposal through the House. The setback came as a deal between President Donald Trump and Congress to protect young immigrants from deportation also remained distant.

The intransigence by the House Freedom Caucus came as Republican leaders raced against a Friday deadline for pushing a short-term spending bill through Congress. If they fail, federal agencies would start shutting their doors over the weekend — an election-year debacle that GOP leaders and many Democrats are eager to avoid for fear of alienating voters.

The leader of the hard-right Freedom Caucus emerged from a Tuesday night meeting to say its members — and other GOP lawmakers as well — want a short-term bill keeping federal agencies open to contain added money for the military.

“There’s not enough support to pass it with GOP-only votes in the House,” the group’s leader, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., told reporters. He said he planned to discuss their concerns with Republican leaders.

The GOP focus on keeping government open comes as it’s become certain there’s no time to cut a deal by Friday on protecting young immigrants.

Those talks were soured by Trump’s incendiary remarks about “shithole” countries in Africa last week. Democratic leaders said they would not promise to vote to keep the government open past Friday without a plan to preserve a program that protects the young immigrants known as “Dreamers.”

“We don’t want to shut down the government. … We want to keep the government open,” Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters. “But we’re not going to be held hostage to do things that we think are going to be contrary to the best interests of the American people.”

House Republican leaders tried to win over wary conservatives with a promise to repeal unpopular taxes as part of the bill preventing a shutdown.

They sweetened the plan with a two-year delay on implementation of unpopular taxes on medical devices and generous employer-subsidized health care plans. The taxes, also unpopular with many Democrats, are part of former President Barack Obama’s marquee health law.

The temporary funding bill would also include a long-delayed, six-year renewal of a popular health insurance program for children of low-income families. It would fund the government through Feb. 16.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., unveiled the plan at a Tuesday evening GOP meeting. Lawmakers and aides initially said it was received well, raising hopes that a potential shutdown would be sidestepped with relative ease. A Ryan spokeswoman declined later to comment on the Freedom Caucus’ opposition.

Many Democrats said they’re still unlikely to support the measure without an agreement on immigration. The prospects for such a deal were complicated as Democrats appeared to see scant reason to bargain with a president many in their party view as holding racist views.

“There’s no trust there,” said Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz.

Negotiations on immigration were to resume Wednesday but Marc Short, a top White House aide, said an agreement was very unlikely to come this week. “We’re optimistic that we’ll get a deal,” Short said. “I think this week would be fairly Herculean.”

Even if they succeed in the House, Republicans would still need at least nine Democratic votes to push a spending package through the Senate, which the GOP controls 51-49. Democrats seeking leverage are forcing that bill to require 60 votes for passage.

When the Senate approved a similar short-term spending bill in December, 17 Democrats plus Maine independent Angus King voted to keep the government open. Seven of those Democrats face re-election in November in Trump-won states — including West Virginia, North Dakota and Montana, which have small numbers of minority voters.

Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, said Tuesday he’ll vote for a short-term spending bill without a plan to assist the immigrants facing possible deportation. Other red- and swing-state Democrats did not commit.

“I think everyone has the empathy and compassion to want to help these young people who are stranded and we’re trying to find that, but shutting down the government isn’t going to help them,” Manchin said.

Democrats voting against that December bill included some senators — such as Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California — who might seek the presidency in 2020 and would love support from their party’s liberal voters.

On the left, liberal groups are ramping up pressure on Democrats to resist any spending plan. Groups like MoveOn, United We Dream and CREDO shifted their focus from Republicans to Democrats earlier in the month, threatening primary challenges and public ridicule for Democrats unwilling to risk a government shutdown to save the program for young immigrants.

Meanwhile, the bipartisan group of senators continued work to build support for a plan to protect the “Dreamers” and toughen border security, including funds to start building Trump’s long-promised border wall.

Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, late last year but gave Congress until March 5 to pass legislation extending the initiative created by President Barack Obama. It has protected around 800,000 young immigrants from deportation.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sought to highlight the later deadline, suggesting there was more time to work out a deal. A shutdown now would be “a manufactured crisis,” he argued.

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Republicans Are Trying to Dismantle the Backbone of US Immigration Policy

I came to the United States by myself when I was 16 years old. My parents had about $5,000 in their bank account, and they used it all to send me here because they truly believed that this country was where I was going to get the best education and have the best opportunities. It didn’t occur to me when I left home that I would never live in the same country as my parents again. It took me 17 years to become a US citizen. It would have taken many more years for me to sponsor my parents, but by then they were simply too old to pick up and move their lives.

Anyone who has been through the immigration system understands that immigrating to America is already a complex, difficult, and long process, one that has not been updated for decades with simple reforms that meet the needs of our country. Today, over 4.7 million people wait to be reunited with their families in what is commonly referred to as the “backlog.” These are legal residents who want to be reunited with their children, parents, and siblings; sometimes they must wait for more than 20 years.

Family reunification has been the backbone of US immigration policy for more than 50 years. What Republicans so cynically refer to as “chain migration” is actually family-based immigration—a humane and compassionate policy of reunifying families. It allows spouses to be together, siblings to support each other, and children to be with their parents. It allows the immigrants who are already here to be successful. In a system that I have previously dubbed “sexclusionary” because most of the immigration employment categories are designed to benefit men, family-based immigration is also the primary mechanism that allows women to enter the country. Nearly three-quarters of all women immigrants obtained their legal status through sponsorship by a close relative. And, unbeknownst to many, three-quarters of all immigrants to the United States are women and children.

Equally important, family-based immigration has allowed families to survive in a country where quality childcare and health care are simply unaffordable for the vast majority of people. Men and women can go to work because a parent, aunt, or uncle is at home, taking care of their children. Family members take care of each other when sick or disabled. The vast majority of immigrants—regardless of the conditions of war and poverty that may wrack their home countries—come and contribute to their new home country: building our roads, caring for our homes, children and elders, and serving as doctors, lawyers, employers, and innovators.

Republican attempts to recharacterize this valuable system of family-based immigration as “chain migration” are not just false; they are rekindling a racist ideology that was present at the beginning of our immigration system. Our immigration policy has its roots in excluding immigrants from “undesirable” non-white countries and focusing immigration on white countries, an ideology still scattered through many of our outdated laws. But racism pervaded even early migration from white countries such as Ireland, when the Irish were referred to as “black” in a derogatory way. Too many Americans today have lost the connection to how their own families came to America, and what many—including the Irish, Polish and German Jewish—immigrants suffered at the time. Trump and other conservative Republicans use this to their advantage, employing racist “otherizing” rhetoric to fuel racism and resentment against today’s immigrants who do come primarily from countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa because of the extreme conditions of economic inequality, war and environmental destruction—the same conditions that have always driven people to migrate.

Our entire outdated immigration system is groaning under the pressures put upon it. It is used as a political football, tossed around to gin up resentment and hatred to win elections. We should all welcome real solutions, including to our family-based immigration system, like the 2013 comprehensive immigration-reform bill that passed the US Senate with 68 bipartisan votes. Unfortunately, it was never brought up in the House of Representatives, perhaps because it is politically convenient to have immigrants as scapegoats. We desperately need to pass comprehensive immigration reform—but that is not the conversation we have been having and it is not the business at hand.

Today our job is to address a real solution for the 800,000 Dreamers whose futures Donald Trump put on the line when he ended DACA. There is clear bipartisan support for the Dream Act and Democrats and many honest Republicans stand ready to take a vote on that today. Let’s stop playing around with the lives of these young people, and pass a clean Dream Act.

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A ‘s-show’: Relationships fray in immigration fight

Sens. Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin, who presented a compromise immigration plan to Trump, called out the President’s staff, saying they are blocking a deal.
Durbin asserts Trump said 'shithole countries,' disputing Republicans' account
“This has turned into an s-show and we need to get back to being a great country,” Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
At one point, Graham even spoke directly to Trump, as if he was watching, to appeal to him to reconsider his rejection of their bipartisan proposal on immigration and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Talks have seemingly broken down since the blowup and fight over Trump’s use of the word “shitholes” to describe some African countries.
“Close this deal,” Graham said.
It marked a sudden change in fortune for Graham and Trump, who in recent months had been increasingly close and frequent golf partners.
The two senators may have been trying to talk past the President’s advisers, including chief of staff John Kelly and senior adviser Stephen Miller, a hard-liner on immigration.
Graham said there is still a way to reconstruct an agreement but said “somebody on his staff gave him really bad advice.”
Trump was “not well served by his staff,” Graham told reporters. Asked about Kelly specifically, he called him a good man but noted that he is a member of the staff, and added that some at the White House have “an irrational view.”
Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, told reporters that he believed Miller had played a role in convincing Trump to blast the bipartisan deal.
“It’s hard to find any effort to kill immigration legislation that doesn’t have Steve Miller’s fingerprints on it. He’s been an outspoken foe of immigration reform and opponent to DACA and the Dreamers from the start,” Durbin said.
In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Durbin said that during last Thursday’s meeting to present the deal, the White House brought in five other members of Congress “to refute any assertions … that this was good policy.”
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White House press secretary Sarah Sanders maintained Trump is in charge of the talks.
“To be very clear, the President’s running the show here at the White House and look, I was part of this process, and part of the conversations that went on,” Sanders said. “The president simply, as he looked at the deal, he wants a good deal and he wants to right deal.”

‘What happened between 10 and 12’

Graham, at the hearing, spoke about his and Durbin’s side of the meeting, saying that last Thursday morning around 10 a.m., Durbin, his longtime negotiating partner in immigration reform, called him to say he had the best phone conversation with the President he’d ever had and was exceedingly optimistic about reaching a deal. Graham said he set up a White House meeting.
But by the time they arrived, Graham said, the winds had changed, hardline conservative lawmakers had been invited, and the President made the now-infamous “shithole” countries remark.
DHS secretary says Trump used 'tough' language on immigration but denies hearing specific slurs
“What happened between 10 and 12?” Graham asked. “(At a previous meeting) Tuesday, we had a president that I was proud to golf with, call my friend, who understood immigration had to be bipartisan, you had to have border security as essential, you have border security with a wall, but he also understood the idea that we had to do it with compassion. I don’t know where that guy went. I want him back.”
Durbin told CNN that Trump had appeared more open to the kind of bipartisan compromise on immigration his group was working on, but Miller was in the back of the room.
“At the Tuesday meeting, he was at the back, writing notes and passing them to Tom Cotton who is his man in the Senate. We know his role. We know both of their roles,” Durbin said.
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Deal on the ropes

At the Judiciary Committee hearing, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen repeated that she didn’t hear the word “shithole” being used, but remembers an “impassioned” conversation with “tough language.”
Nielsen defended Trump’s rejection of Durbin and Graham, saying their proposal for $1.6 billion for a border wall and $1.2 billion for technological investments was not enough.
Nielsen said that border security would require closing “loopholes” in the law — a hardline overhaul the White House has sought to be able to go more aggressively after undocumented immigrants and deport them.
Commenting on the proposal, Sanders added, “They only put in one-tenth of what the Department of Homeland Security said they needed. Not what they said they wanted, not what they said they wanted. This was simply a complete failure in terms of a good deal based on what the President had laid out.”
Durbin and Graham both said, however, that the President had said in the previous meeting he agreed in keeping a first deal on DACA narrow enough, saying more comprehensive change would happen afterward.
Durbin reiterated this to Nielsen, saying to “put the entire burden of immigration reform on the shoulders” of DACA recipients was “unfair.”
But Nielsen had back-up from a former negotiating partner of Durbin and Graham’s, North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, who took a thinly veiled swipe at the two of them for meeting as a small group and presenting an unworkable compromise.
“I actually want a solution for DACA,” Tillis said. “I actually want people to start acting reasonable instead of creating ad hoc ‘gangs’ and trying to get something done that’s simply not going to get done. … We need to get people in a room and actually solve the problem.”

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White House Fuels Immigration Debate With Terrorism Statistics

Over recent days, the debate over a potential immigration compromise has devolved into a bickering match over racially charged comments and profanity-laced phrases. Tuesday’s report was an attempt by the Trump administration to use government-compiled data to make a loftier, policy-based argument about the president’s push for a merit-based immigration system.

Testifying on Capitol Hill, Kirstjen Nielsen, the homeland security secretary, called the report’s findings “truly chilling data.” She pointed to the case of Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, an Uzbek man who was admitted to the United States in 2011 through the diversity visa lottery, a State Department program that allows in immigrants from countries that do not send many people to the United States. He pleaded guilty in 2015 to conspiring to support the Islamic State after posting a threat on an Uzbek-language website to kill President Barack Obama in an act of martyrdom.

Mr. Trump is seeking to end the visa lottery and enact new restrictions on immigrants’ ability to bring members of their extended families to the United States as part of an immigration compromise currently under discussion.

But the statistics were notable as much for what they did not contain as for what they did.

They included cases — a senior administration official who insisted on anonymity to detail the report could not say how many — in which foreigners were extradited to the United States to face trial. That means they did not, in fact, enter the country “through our immigration system,” as the White House fact sheet asserted.

The statistics also included terrorism-related charges for attacks or other offenses carried out overseas, rather than in the United States. Additionally, they omitted domestic terrorism episodes that have accounted for a substantial number of terrorism-related deaths over the same 15-year period. During Capitol Hill testimony last year, the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, told lawmakers that the bureau had “about 1,000” open domestic terrorism investigations and an equal number into terrorist groups such as the Islamic State. In a bulletin released last May, the F.B.I. reported that white supremacist groups were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016, “more than any other domestic extremist movement.”

Tuesday’s report highlighted cases in which the offender entered through the diversity lottery or because of family ties to legal immigrants, but the White House official could not say what proportion of people in each of those categories had been convicted of terrorism.

Democrats and civil liberties groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called the report flawed and politically motivated.

“This misleading report relies on manufactured data to perpetuate a myth that immigrants — specifically, those from Muslim countries — are dangerous elements within our country,” Representatives Jerrold Nadler of New York and Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the top Democrats on the Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees, said in a joint statement. “The administration then uses these falsehoods as reasoning and license for policies that promote the continued abuse of our rights and civil liberties.”

The report was drawn up to comply with an executive order that Mr. Trump issued in March to ban foreigners from six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States. The order, which has since expired and been replaced with a new travel ban, required the Justice and Homeland Security Departments to collect and publicly release information on the number of foreign nationals in the United States who had been charged with terrorism-related offenses.

Drawing on a Justice Department database, the report found that at least 549 individuals had been convicted of international terrorism-related charges in federal courts between Sept. 11, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2016.

A homeland security analysis said 402 of those, or about 73 percent, were foreign-born. That included 254 who were not American citizens, 148 who were naturalized and became citizens and 147 who were citizens by birth.

Under the March order, the report was supposed to have been released in September. On Tuesday, the senior administration official conceded that it was overdue but denied that it was being released now to influence the escalating debate over an immigration compromise.

It will now be updated and issued every 180 days, he said.

According to the Cato Institute, although the report focuses on “terrorism-related” offenses, Department of Justice data shows that about 40 percent of such cases have nothing to do with terrorism. Instead, they include crimes like petty theft, child pornography and immigration offenses, said David Bier, a policy analyst at Cato.

Mr. Bier said his research showed that since the Sept. 11 attacks, only 35 foreigners entered the country and went on to commit terrorism offenses of any kind, including sending money abroad or leaving to join a group abroad.

“The fact is that despite massive governmental resources, the D.O.J.-D.H.S. report adds little to our understanding of terrorism threats,” he said.

A three-page Department of Homeland Security assessment released last year found that “country of citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity.”

Continue reading the main story

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US government shutdown looms amid harsh immigration exchange

(Note language that may offend some readers, paragraph 8)

By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Partisan finger-pointing over immigration policy on Tuesday left the U.S. Congress and the White House stumbling closer to a possible federal government shutdown by the end of the week, although Wall Street held out hopes for a deal to prevent that.

Passage of another temporary funding bill by the Republican-led Congress before Friday’s deadline seemed the likeliest outcome, said policy analysts, while acknowledging that the negotiating climate among Republicans and Democrats has become increasingly poisonous. Government funding for the current fiscal year runs out at midnight on Friday.

As Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic Senator Dick Durbin traded accusations over a sudden halt in talks toward a deal to save so-called Dreamer immigrants — those brought into the country illegally as children — from deportation, the risks of a shutdown were seen as higher, if not overwhelming.

“We expect the emergence of another short-term extension” of federal funding authority to prevent a partial government shutdown and keep the government open into February, said analyst Ed Mills at financial firm Raymond James.

Mills cautioned, “This is likely to be a week of brinkmanship and the potential of a government shutdown is elevated. Should a shutdown occur, we do not expect much of a market reaction.”

If a temporary “continuing resolution” to keep the government operating results, it would be the fourth such measure since the 2018 federal fiscal year began on Oct. 1, a sign of Washington’s serious struggles to pass spending legislation.

The slim Republican margin of control in the Senate means Trump’s party will need some Democratic support to resolve the government funding stand-off. Democrats have said they want a shutdown-preventing spending bill that protects the Dreamer immigrants, mostly Hispanic young adults.

UPROAR OVER TRUMP REMARKS

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) walks on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., after the House vote on the continuing resolution to avoid government shutdown, December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Trump last week rejected a bipartisan agreement reached by a group of senators on the matter. Divisions between Republicans and Democrats deepened amid an uproar over Trump’s reported use of the word “shithole” when speaking about African countries last week. Trump has denied using that language.

Backers of the bipartisan Senate immigration deal were not abandoning it, despite Trump’s rejection. Durbin intends to introduce it as legislation on Wednesday, spokesman Ben Marter said. But it was not yet clear whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would schedule it for a floor debate and vote.

Trump said he was willing to make a deal to help the Dreamers, but he insisted that funding for border security, including his long-promised wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, be included in any legislative package.

“The Democrats want to shut down the Government over Amnesty for all and Border Security. The biggest loser will be our rapidly rebuilding Military, at a time we need it more than ever,” Trump said in a Twitter post.

U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) walks on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., after the House vote on the continuing resolution to avoid government shutdown, December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

The president, in comments to reporters on Tuesday, indicated he wants immigrants from nations around the world, saying, “I want them to come in from everywhere.”

Democrats have done all they can to avert a shutdown and the ball is in the Republicans’ court, said Durbin, who backed a Dreamer deal.

”It is preventable,“ Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, told reporters of a shutdown. ”The Republican majority is in control of the House and the Senate. They have the White House. We are prepared to work with them, and we have put down a list of things that should be included and they’ve had it for weeks.

“So from my point of view, they should move forward. Let’s stop postponing this a week or two at a time.”

Speaking of a government shutdown, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told reporters, “We should all be kicked out if that happens.”

Trump in September said he was terminating effective in March former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which shields about 700,000 Dreamer immigrants from deportation and gives them work permits. Trump challenged Congress to come up with legislation relating to the Dreamers.

Talks also continued on related issues, including how to fund a children’s healthcare program and to establish higher spending caps for the U.S. military and other domestic programs.

Reporting by Richard Cowan; Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu and Mohammad Zargham; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Will Dunham

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Lindsey Graham hits White House, says immigration fight a ‘s-show’

DHS secretary says Trump used 'tough' language on immigration but denies hearing specific slurs
Talking to reporters outside a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, the South Carolina Republican said there is still a way to reconstruct an agreement but said “somebody on his staff gave him really bad advice.”
During his portion of questioning at the hearing, Graham said in reference to the immigration fight, “This has turned into a ‘s-show’ and we need to get back to being a great country.”
“Close this deal,” he said, referencing Trump.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, told CNN that during last Thursday’s meeting to present the deal, White House chief of staff John Kelly and White House senior adviser Stephen Miller brought in five other members of Congress “to refute any assertions … that this was good policy.”
At the meeting, Durbin said Trump also referred to some African nations as “shithole countries” and that Graham pushed back on Trump’s use of the remark.
“(H)e said ‘My family was from one of those s-hole countries.’ He used the word himself,” Durbin said.
The Democrat added that Graham had told Trump: “‘They came here with limited training, limited experience. They made a life, they started a business and they gave me a chance. That’s what America is all about.'”

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Trump dice ahora que quiere a inmigrantes “de todas partes”


Updated 12:59 pm, Tuesday, January 16, 2018


WASHINGTON (AP) — El presidente Donald Trump dijo el martes que quiere que vengan inmigrantes a Estados Unidos “de todas partes”, a pesar de que días atrás afirmó a puertas cerradas que prefería a los inmigrantes de países como Noruega y no de África.

“Queremos que vengan de todas partes, de todas partes”, dijo Trump. El mandatario respondió a preguntas de la prensa luego de reunirse con el presidente de Kazajistán, Nursultan Nazarbayev, en la Casa Blanca.



Al comenzar la segunda semana de repercusiones de un término obsceno empleado por Trump, sus colaboradores están trabados en un debate sobre la palabra con la que el presidente describió a ciertos países durante una conversación con senadores acerca de la inmigración.

Se informó que Trump usó la palabra “shithole” (“de mierda”) durante las conversaciones del jueves pasado en la Oficina Oval, una versión ratificada por el senador demócrata Dick Durbin y algunos republicanos.

“Ratifico cada palabra que dije sobre lo que se dijo y lo que sucedió”, insistió Durbin el martes.


Sin embargo, ahora se debate en la Casa Blanca si Trump dijo “shithole” o “shithouse” (retrete fuera de la casa). Una persona que asistió a la reunión dijo a los colaboradores que escucharon esta última, mientras otros recuerdan que el presidente dijo “shithole”, tal como se ha informado ampliamente, según una persona allegada a las reuniones pero no autorizada a hablar públicamente sobre ellas.

La secretaria de Seguridad Nacional, Kirstjen Nielsen, declaró bajo juramento ante la Comisión Judicial del Senado que “no escuchó” a Trump usar el término vulgar, aunque no “niega que el presidente usó términos rudos”.

“Otros en el salón también usaban términos rudos”, aseguró.

La fuente cree que esta discrepancia explicaría por qué algunos senadores republicanos niegan que el presidente haya dicho “shithole” al referirse a los países africanos además de Haití y El Salvador.

La secretaria de prensa de la Casa Blanca, Sarah Sanders, dijo que Trump “no se disculpará por tratar de reparar nuestro sistema inmigratorio”.

Sanders dijo a la prensa que Trump “no ha dicho que no empleó términos rudos” en la reunión.

Consideró “indignante” el hecho de que los demócratas califiquen las declaraciones de Trump de “racistas”.

Trump no ha aclarado a sus colaboradores qué fue lo que dijo exactamente, pero sostuvo ante los periodistas en Florida el domingo por la noche que las declaraciones que se le atribuyen “no fueron hechas”. La Casa Blanca no ha negado que Trump empleara un término vulgar y parece haber poca diferencia entre el significado de ambos términos.

Mientras continuaba el debate, en Washington reina la incertidumbre sobre si se producirá una paralización de actividades del gobierno el viernes a medianoche, cuando finalice una medida temporaria de financiación, a falta de un acuerdo sobre inmigración y otros asuntos.

El panorama parece más complicado que nunca en vista de la conversación en la Oficina Oval y Trump ha acusado a Durbin de socavar la confianza necesaria para llegar a un acuerdo.

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Defensora de los inmigrantes en EEUU podría ser deportada


Updated 1:31 pm, Tuesday, January 16, 2018



SEATTLE (AP) — Una mexicana que es una conocida defensora de los inmigrantes indocumentados en el noroeste de Estados Unidos podría ser deportada. Ella cree que el Servicio de Control de Inmigración y Aduanas de Estados Unidos (ICE) desea procesarla debido a su activismo.

Maru Mora Villalpando, originaria de Ciudad de México y quien radica en el país del norte desde hace más de 25 años, dijo el martes que el ICE le notificó que debe presentarse ante un juez de migración.

Mora encabeza una organización llamada Northwest Detention Center Resistance, que fue creada en 2014, cuando inmigrantes retenidos en el centro de detención en Tacoma comenzaron una serie de huelgas de hambre para protestar por el trato que recibían. También ha hablado públicamente de ser la madre indocumentada de un ciudadano estadounidense.

Mora y sus partidarios han prometido que buscarán la forma de que evitar su deportación.


El ICE no contestó por el momento un email buscando comentarios al respecto.

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